Couple lands dream wedding after winning NHS ‘thank you’ competition
PUBLISHED: 15:25 10 August 2020
For one lucky couple, they never thought they could land a dream wedding, but their hopes have now turned into reality.
Tia Whiteman and Joel Whittingham got engaged in December last year and were planning to spend four weeks in Australia as part of a ‘once in a lifetime’ holiday, before the coronavirus pandemic forced them to cancel.
The couple, both 29-years-old and paramedics for the East of England Ambulance Service, then entered a competition ran by Chippenham Park near Newmarket and its suppliers to win a wedding package as a ‘thank you’ to NHS staff for their dedication throughout the lockdown.
After being invited to the venue to speak about making the final shortlist on Friday, August 7, it was revealed they had actually won the prize before being greeted by friends and family.
“I was in between night shifts and somebody tagged me on Facebook, and I entered,” Tia said.
“It’s amazing. Our initial reaction was probably shock. I was under the impression we were there to have a video and it would be going onto Instagram.
“I’m in awe. It’s like a fairytale wedding, but it’s something financially I would never have been able to afford.”
Speaking before they were announced as winners of the wedding, which is scheduled for Wednesday April 7, 2021, Tia and Joel said winning the prize would be “the best chapter of our happy ever after”.
The package includes a bridal gown of up to £1,500 from Blush Ely, as well as professional photography, catering, decorations, entertainment and a confetti pony, where the average wedding can around £25,000.
Although Tia and Joel, who live a couple of miles from Chippenham Park, are still surprised about the win, plans are beginning to take shape ahead of the big day, with dog Jackson tipped to be her ‘dog of honour’.
“I think the wedding would cost around £25,000. I think it’s such a variable cost,” she said.
“The guest list is the hardest thing; it has changed about 10 times already.
“It still seems weird I entered that competition but we have not doing anything special, we have just gone to work so it seems bizarre that we won.
“I’m relying on Natasha, the wedding planner, because I don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m accepting all direction!”
Becky Nicholson, from Chippenham Park, said: “In a year of not so good news, it was a lovely morning putting a bit of feelgood back into one couple’s lives.”
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